The House Climate Solutions Caucus gained two new members, including Virginia Republicans Rep. Scott Taylor, who represents the coastal Virginia Beach area, and Rep. Barbara Comstock. The caucus recently picked up New York Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney. With the addition of their Democratic counterparts, the bipartisan group now stands at 44 members.
It’s a somber week in Washington, D.C. but we are uplifted by Rep. Mark Sanford, specifically his call for both sides of the aisle to work together in a civil manner. He referenced the caucus as “an example of people trying to do that in a small way.”
In other news, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he continues to support the Paris climate agreement, despite President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. from the international pact. “My views were heard out,” Tillerson said. “My views never changed.” He added that the decision was “run through an interagency process” and that the president was “quite deliberative on the issue.”
Environmental Protect Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt left a G7 meeting of environmental ministers early; the U.S. refused to sign a joint statement by the G7 national on the environment. “We are resetting the dialogue to say Paris is not the only way forward to making progress,” Pruitt wrote in a statement.
In a continuing trend among local elected officials heeding the call to action, Bowling Green Mayor Richard Edwards, a Republican, joined the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. That pact promises to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Kyoto Protocol.
Last, but not least, President Donald Trump is this week’s climate jester for assuring the mayor of the rapidly sinking Chesapeake Bay island community of Tangier, Virginia that the “island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.” The low lying island with a population of about 450 is sinking due to erosion and sea level rise. Scientists have predicted that Tangier, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014, will have to relocate its residents over the next two decades, making them among the first U.S. climate refugees. “You’ve got one heck of an island there,” Trump reportedly told the mayor in a phone call after watching a segment about the impacts sea level rise and erosion are having. Trump’s budget proposal included a 30 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, which funds the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). CBF was planning to build seawalls on the island, a project that will likely be delayed if there is a cut in the program’s funding.
As you read this, I’m on my way to see Hamilton (Chicago) to escape the messy politics of today with the messy politics of the past. Happy weekend!